By Ray Luck
Pastor, Oak Grove Baptist Church, Athens
I think all of us at some point in time have a desire to be like someone else. If you are a Peanuts cartoon junky like I am you no doubt have noticed how many characters Snoopy thinks he is — a famous fighter pilot in World War I, or a famous attorney, or an ice skating coach, etc. The one thing he rarely wants to be is himself. As we think of this in the spiritual realm it should ever be our desire to “Be Like Jesus” in service. In order to be like Jesus we must study His life and incorporate into our life those things worthy of emulation. R. G. Lee, the late great pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis said, “What Southern Baptists need more than anything is to be like Jesus.” That statement still rings true today, but the issue we all face is how we use the time we have to make that a reality. The passage in Matthew teaches us four things about Jesus that if appropriated into our life would help us to draw closer to Jesus and thus become more like Him in service.
(1) What Jesus saw (v. 36). He saw the multitudes in need both physically and spiritually.
(2) What Jesus felt (v. 36). He was moved with compassion (this means He was literally sick to His soul). He was indeed heartsick, burdened, and broken over the lost condition of His people. If we are going to be like Jesus, if we are going to be in His service then we must be heartsick over the sinful condition of this world. The question must be asked of us all, “When was the last time we have wept over the lost condition of our neighbors, friends, and relatives?” As people literally hang by a thread over hell, do we have enough concern to go share the Word, do we have the compassion of Jesus for the lost? Jesus said in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
(3) What Jesus said (vv. 37-38). “The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few, pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into the harvest.” When I was director of missions I had a picture in my office of this huge cotton field. In the foreground were two women, one was picking the cotton while the other was looking down the long row of cotton as far as the eye could see perhaps feeling the pressure to pick such a large field with so few laborers. I am sure all of us have felt the agony of the young woman. The question is do we feel the agony of Jesus as He sees the fields with so few laborers and sees us not responding to the need (see Matthew 25:14-30).
(4) What Jesus did (10:1-8). After a prayer meeting with the disciples, He empowered them to go from home to home sharing the message of salvation and hope through Jesus Christ, then He sent them out. If we are going to be like Jesus in His service we must care, pray, and then go spreading the message of hope through Jesus to the lost!